TOKYO (Reuters): Former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina on Monday pulled out of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, days after slamming the WTA for the introduction of performance byes at the tournament.
Byes are usually awarded to top-seeded players, but performance byes allow for players who have played well in the previous week to move directly into the second round of the following tournament.
Byes for the Pan Pacific Open were given to Maria Sakkari, who won the Guadalajara Open title on Saturday, and Caroline Garcia, who reached the semi-finals. Both players are ranked lower than Rybakina, who was drawn against Linda Noskova in the first round.
“As a player I want to give my all on the court and at the moment my body is not ready to do that,” Rybakina said on Instagram.
“That’s why I decided to listen to my body and withdraw from the tournament. I love Japan, my fans here are so unique and for that reason this is a tough decision.”
Rybakina said her decision to withdraw from the tournament had nothing to do with her missing out on a bye, adding: “The WTA topic is another topic, on which I have my opinions and will clearly voice them in future.”